Cambria-Friesland had control during most of Monday’s night’s prep girls basketball non-conference game against Wayland Academy, but the Big Red just never went away.
That meant the Hilltoppers had to sweat it out until the final buzzer, as Wayland nearly erased a 10-point deficit before the Hilltoppers hung to to prevail 41-39.
“We have to give Wayland all the credit in the world,” Cambria-Friesland head coach Harold DeYoung said. “They had low numbers and they just kept going at us and going at us and going at us. They pulled off enough rebounds and enough assists that they just kept the game close.”
With 1 minute, 11 seconds left, Wayland’s Aryanna Oestreicher’s basket cut the Big Red deficit to 37-36, but the Hilltoppers’ Chloe DeYoung answered with 48 seconds remaining to put C-F back in front by three.
Wayland head coach Carl Michaletz felt his team played well to stay in it.
“We had our first game last week Thursday against Horicon and we lost by a good number against a good team,” he said. “We had one day of practice to come back and figure things out. I give a lot of credit to my team leaders. They did a really good job bouncing back. We lost a tough game tonight by two, but I’m really proud of the way they played.”
DeYoung and Solene Ader each hit one of two free throws to give the Toppers a 41-36 edge with 11 seconds left. Oestreicher swished a desperation 3-pointer to account for the final score.
Oestreicher led the Big Red with a game-high 17 points, while DeYoung finished with 17 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks.
“She’s an unbelievable player,” Michaletz said of Oestreicher. “ She’s a freshman and just an excellent ball handler, excellent shooter, excellent defender and already a leader on this team. She’s so much fun to coach.”
Cambria took a 19-16 lead into the locker room and started the second half on an 11-4 run to go up 30-20 with 13:21 remaining in the game.
But Wayland didn’t back down. The Big Red eventually went on a 14-6 run to cut the deficit to 36-34 off a deuce from Courtney James-Atkins with 2:53 left.
“When we got to the 10-point lead, ‘OK, now we’re finally starting to do things right,’” Harold DeYoung said. “You’ve got to give Wayland credit that they stifled our offense. We had a spell there where they basically brought it right back to a tie game when we didn’t score at all.
“Some of it is playing in this gymnasium, getting used to the open air and stuff like that. We had a lot of trouble finding the basket in part of the first quarter.”
Wayland took a 9-6 lead halfway through the first half, but Devon DeYoung’s 3-pointer tied it at 9 with 6:29 left, starting a 9-0 Toppers run.
Wayland answered with its own 7-0 run to take a 16-15 lead with 1:26 left in the half before Cambria-Friesland knotted things up and Madisyn Owen converted a three-point play with 16 seconds left.
The Big Red had a size advantage with 5-foot-8 forward Ifeoma Egbuna, who had three blocks on the night to go with four points for Wayland.
“She’s an excellent defender,” Michaletz said. “It’s such a size mismatch down there in the post. One thing we really got to work on more is really utilizing her more on offense.
“On defense, she clogged the middle. She made Cambria shoot a bunch of outside shots and almost ended up working in our favor.”
CAMBRIA-FRIESLAND 41, WAYLAND 39
Cambria-Friesland 19 22 - 41
Wayland 16 23 - 39
CAMBRIA-FRIESLAND – Ader 8, C. DeYoung 17, Gove 2, Jones 5, D. DeYoung 3, Burmania 1, Owen 5. Totals: 14 10-21 41.
WAYLAND – Oestreicher 17, Hashiramoto 4, James-Atkins 8, Walker 2, Onwochi 4, Egbuna 4. Totals 17 2-4 39.
3-point goals: CF 3 (C. DeYoung 2, D. DeYoung 1), W 3 (Oestreicher 3). Total fouls: CF 10, W 19.